The Yaltah Menuhin Memorial Fund is extremely honoured to have on board Cécile Ousset as its Honorary Patron. Our association with her would have carried Yaltah's unequivocal stamp of approval, as she held Cécile in great esteem, both as an artist and as a person. Cécile in turn looks back on her encounters with Yaltah, particularly at the Menuhin School, with equal warmth and admiration, and considers her position as Honorary Patron a very great honour.
Cécile was born in Tarbes, France, and gave her first recital at the age of five, subsequently studying at the Paris Conservatoire with Marcel Ciampi (who had formerly taught Yaltah and Hephzibah) where, aged only fourteen, she was awarded first prize in the piano graduation class of 1950. She has won major prizes in numerous international competitions including the Marguerite Long-Jacques Thibaud in Geneva, the Queen Elisabeth in Belgium (in 1956, when other contestants included Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Browning, Lazar Berman, Tamás Vásáry and Peter Frankl), the Busoni and the Van Cliburn. She has performed throughout the world and recorded a vast repertoire including concerto's of Brahms, Grieg, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Ravel and Poulenc under the distinguished direction of Kurt Masur, Simon Rattle, Neville Marriner, etc. She won the coveted Grand Prix du Disque for her recording of the Brahms 2nd Piano Concerto with Kurt Masur.
Cécile has always had a great interest and love for teaching and coaching young talent. This has resulted in many Master Classes in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and the Far East. Participation in her annual Master class sessions, held since 1984 in the beautiful medieval village of Puycelsi in south-west France, are eagerly sought after. She is a frequent adjudicator for major competitions such as Van Cliburn, Rubinstein, Leeds and Bremen. Cécile is a patron of EPTA, the European Piano Teachers' Association, which was founded by Carola Grindea in 1978 to promote excellence in piano teaching and performance in the UK. Associations have since been founded in almost every other country in Europe and a European Conference is held annually.